by Dan Bacher
A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on July 31 reveals that the majority of Californian residents oppose expanded fracking in the Golden State.
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) employs huge volumes of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. The technique is environmentally destructive, resulting in pollution to groundwater supplies and streams, as documented in the documentary films Gasland 1 and 2, directed by Josh Fox.
"As state legislators debate stricter regulations on fracking—already under way in California—51 percent oppose increased use of the drilling method used to extract oil and natural gas (35% favor it, 14% don’t know)," according to PPIC, a nonpartisan research foundation. "Asked whether they favor or oppose stricter regulation of fracking, 50 percent say they are in favor. Among those who favor increased use of fracking, 62 percent also favor stricter regulation." (http://www.ppic.org/main/pressrelease.asp?i=1378)
The controversial technique, currently unregulated and unmonitored by California officials, has been used in hundreds and perhaps thousands of oil and gas wells across the state, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The survey asked about another hotly debated plan to increase the supply of oil: construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. Half of Californians (51%) favor building the pipeline, 34 percent oppose it, and 15 percent don’t know, according to PPIC.
"Californians are conflicted when it comes to controversial efforts to expand the oil supply,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. "Slim majorities favor building the Keystone XL pipeline but also oppose fracking, with many wanting stricter regulation of the practice.”
The poll also revealed that the majority of Californians are opposed to expanded offshore oil drilling, with 54 percent opposing and 41 percent favoring more oil drilling off California’s coast. Among those living in coastal areas, 57 percent oppose more drilling, while those inland are divided (49% favor, 47% oppose).
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